News | 3 September 2021

CFA: THI Undergraduate Public Fellowship with Prison Journalism Project


Deadline: October 15, 2021 

The Humanities Institute is excited to announce a new Undergraduate Public Fellowship opportunity for Humanities students at UC Santa Cruz to work at Prison Journalism Project (PJP). THI’s Public Fellowships connect students in the Humanities to projects in the community, with the aim of mutually benefiting students and community organizations. Students gain first-hand experience learning about positions outside of the university that build on their studies in the Humanities and give them professional training, while, at the same time, organizations benefit from students’ assistance and academic background. THI’s Public Fellowships foster positive collaborations between the campus and community, demonstrating the value of a Humanities degree for a range of careers.

About the Project:  Prison Journalism Project is an independent, nonprofit, non-partisan national initiative housed at Penn State University. Our directors are journalists and professors located in Pennsylvania (Penn State University), Illinois (Northwestern University) and California (University of California, Santa Cruz). We work with incarcerated writers and those impacted by incarceration to train them in the tools of journalism and help them reach a wide audience through our publication as well as through collaborations with mainstream media. We believe that the deep reforms that are necessary to fix the U.S. criminal justice system can only happen by shifting the narrative. Intentional, responsible, and well-crafted journalism from within the incarcerated community can break stereotypes, increase transparency, and drive change. Our goal is to create the first nationwide network of prison journalists and correspondents.

Job Description:  Editorial Assistant

We are looking for an undergraduate student to serve as an editorial assistant to support PJP’s publications. The Public Fellow would have the opportunity to work with the whole PJP team but will work closest with PJP Director, Kate McQueen, a UCSC faculty member in the Cowell Core and Writing Programs. The Public Fellow will be paid $15/hour and work 10-20 hours per week from late October 2021 – early June 2022. The fellowship involves a mix of remote and in-person responsibilities. The Public Fellow may also pursue an optional $500 summer research fellowship stipend from THI to pursue a research project of their own that is connected to their work at PJP.

Primary duties include:

  • Assist in managing correspondence and communication with our writers. Primary areas of management will be our rejection letter process and our contributing writers page.
  • Assist with the publication of our bi-annual print digest PJP Inside. This includes selecting and editing stories, and commissioning art.  
  • Assist in managing poetry and general essay submissions, including opportunities to edit submissions for our primary digital publication.

Additional opportunities can include:

  • Provide reporting and research support on journalism submissions.
  • Reporting and writing features on currently operating prison newspapers in collaboration with their staff.
  • Assist the PJP social media team in managing our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and come up with new ideas for how to engage our community.

You’re an ideal candidate if you:

  • Are in good academic standing (required)
  • Declared major or minor in a department in the Humanities Division (required)
  • Are able to work independently and collaboratively (required)
  • Are organized, attentive to detail and sensitive to deadlines (required)
  • Are comfortable juggling multiple tasks at once (required)
  • Have strong communication skills, written and spoken (required)
  • Have some digital media and social media experience (required)
  • Have an interest in criminal justice work and are familiar with PJP’s work and mission (required)
  • Have experience writing, editing, and publishing content for an online audience (preferred)
  • Familiarity with AP Style (preferred)

How to apply:

Apply by submitting your resume with a short cover letter (no more than one page) answering these questions: Why this job? Why you? Why now?

A tip for writing this cover letter is to consider how this position will further your undergraduate career as well as your professional career once you have completed your education. Feel free to be creative here. Work in the Public Humanities does not have a rigid framework and innovation and the ability to adapt is a key component.

Once the application closes on October 15, 2021, there will be an in-person interview process. A candidate will be selected by the end of October.

Students can apply via the On-Campus Employment – Employee Request System, using job number ER 19292. Please contact with any questions.

THI’s 2021-2022 Undergraduate Public Fellowships are generously supported by the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.